MH Sounds: July 2017


1 – Tom Jones “No one hath seen beauty in its highest lustre who hath never seen it in distress.” Henry Fielding about Tom Jones

2 – Run The Jewels Also known by the initialism RTJ, is an American hip-hop supergroup formed in 2013 by rapper/producer El-P and rapper Killer Mike.

3 – Perfume Genius No family is safe when he sashays.

4 – Kendrick Lamar “It’s a great, great experience to finally get the reception that you know you rightfully deserve.” – Kendrick

5 – Drake Speaking Champagne Papis, Drake’s dad just dropped a music video.

Apple Launches on Instagram


Apple is known for many things and their organic presence on social media is not one of them—until today.

They launched an Instagram account with select photos and videos from their #ShotoniPhone campaign. This is the first Apple social media account with organic content in its feed.

#ShotoniPhone campaign was social in nature but was first introduced via traditional out of home billboards with a campaign for the iPhone 6 in 2015. The campaign has lived on with social media user-submitted images tagged with, you guessed it, #ShotoniPhone.

Follow Apple on Instagram.

Opinion: Brands Should Focus on Awareness, Not Engagement


In a recent AdWeek piece, Syracuse Professor, Brian Sheehan, offered a perspective: “Advertisers need to stop chasing engagement and get back to focusing on awareness.”

Sheehan’s point is an important one: brands can no longer rely on interruption methods and need to market themselves from the bottom up.

“In this new relationship between innovation and media, advertising is akin to publicity, with its focus on influence rather than persuasion…no longer can brands effectively persuade from the top down.”

As Sheehan says, “it should come as no surprise that a majority of the 23 Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners this year could best be described as bottom-up disruptive innovations versus top-down ads, including Fearless GirlBoost Mobile’s voting centersWhirlpool’s “Care Counts,” Burger King’s Google Home idea, among others.

Check out the full piece via AdWeek here.

FX Announces Commercial-Free $6-a-month Service


Comcast and 21st Century Fox’s FX Networks are launching commercial-free viewing of popular shows like “American Horror Story,” “Fargo” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

The new on-demand channel, named FX+, will be available to Comcast Xfinity subscribers for an extra $5.99 a month. In addition to offering current FX shows without ads at the same time new episodes air on the linear channel, FX+ will also have the majority of older FX shows available as well.

FX+ is set to launch Sept. 5.

These ad-free announcements represent a growing trend of traditional media companies trying to compete with ad-free, content rich services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Important to note, these “innovations” come without altering their current business models through cable giants like Comcast. AMC announced a similar offering with Comcast called AMC Prime for $4.99 a month recently.

Recode’s Peter Kafka’s assessment: “This is part of the TV Industrial Complex’s attempt to generate additional revenue (and make up for declines in its subscriber counts) by selling stuff it already owns for an additional fee — without cannibalizing its core business.”

Netflix Acquires Comic-book producer Millarworld


Netflix upped its content game today by acquiring comic-book producer Millarworld.

Netflix said the acquisition is “a natural progression in the company’s effort to work directly with prolific and skilled creators and to acquire intellectual property and ownership of stories featuring compelling characters and timeless, interwoven fictional worlds.”

Three Millarworld titles—“Wanted,” “Kick-Ass” and “Kingsman”—have already been adapted into movies that together have grossed nearly $1 billion in ticket sales.

Surprising at least to me, this is Netflix’s first acquisition in its 20-year history.

Facebook Messenger Adds…Ads?

It hasn’t been long since Facebook announced advertisers can now “create a Facebook News Feed ad that opens a Messenger conversation between your business and your prospective customer.” It seems like a great additionespecially anyone running direct response campaigns.

Even more recently, Facebook has also been testing display ads inside of the Messenger platform and eventually plans to roll this feature out on all Messenger accounts. After encountering a problem finding enough inventory for its Newsfeed ads, targeting the 1.2 billion people using Messenger seems like a given.

The Messenger App has grown increasingly into its own platform with a variety of features. In the last few months, it has added Stories at the top of the app along with tabs at the top and bottom of the page including people tabs, a tab for games, and a “discovery” tab which is full of very content-based, ad-like objects not unlike Snapchat’s content feed (also called Discover.)


Laurene Powell Jobs Buys Majority Stake in the Atlantic


Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, is acquiring a majority stake in the Atlantic magazine through Emerson Collective, her philanthropic organization.

Ms. Powell Jobs is the latest billionaire to take an active interest in the future of news. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million. Since the acquisition, the Washington Post has become noticeably stronger in their technology, storytelling and overall offering.

The acquisition of the Atlantic provides solid footing for the publication that was founded in 1857.

Emerson Collective has invested in a number of media companies including Axios and the production company behind “Spotlight.”

See the announcement from the Atlantic here.

MTV Bringing Back ‘Total Request Live’


From 1998 to 2008, ‘Total Request Live’ was the cornerstones of MTV’s success. It was a must stop for musicians and fans, and the ratings reflected it.

In the last five years, however, MTV has experienced serious troubles. Ratings and relevancy have tanked as has Viacom stock (MTV’s parent company).

Now, young MTV President Chris McCarthy wants to return to the good times and bring back TRL in October.

“If we’re going to come back and reinvent MTV, the studio is a given,” McCarthy said.

The news is working so far. After MTV announced TRL’s return, the network saw the first back-to-back ratings growth in over 4 years.

TRL’s return will be part of a whole new slate for MTV including live shows (TRL and late-night programs) and familiar-looking reality fare, including a show reminiscent of “Laguna Beach” called “Siesta Key,” which premieres today.

WSJ CMO Today: What Marketers Should Know From Facebook’s 2Q Earnings


Facebook reported second quarter earnings last week and the results staggering again. Advertising revenue is up 47% YOY to $9.16 billion with quarterly profits jumping 71% to $3.9 billion.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the company’s performance at “good.”

The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Report covered the top points marketers should know. The highlights:

  • Breaking 2 billion users:  Over 2 billion people used the company’s services each month. That’s more than a quarter of the world’s population.
  • Messaging: Facebook is beginning to introduce ads in its messaging products, but that’s early days. See ‘This Week in Social’ for more below.
  • Results, Not Ads: Facebook is confident in its ad products and wants marketers to pay for results.
  • Desktop Isn’t Dead: Mobile is growing aggressively but desktop isn’t dead. Facebook’s desktop revenue grew 17% in 2Q 2017.
  • Ad growth will decline this year: Ad load is maxed out across Facebook’s services. CFO David Wehner predicts a decline in 2017.
See full WSJ piece here.

The Hot Dog Days of Summer


Snap Inc’s stock has fallen and remains below its initial public offering price. Investors are concerned about Snapchat’s declining user numbers (which can lead to potential declining ad revenue). Meanwhile, Instagram and parent company Facebook is reporting explosive user growth with similar product features.

Snapchat released new features—including their Snap Map. They also added the ability to include links out of Snapchat; however, this is a feature already available on Instagram Stories.

One of the more buzzed about recent Snapchat features is an augmented reality dancing hot dog.

While it has gained attention across social media platforms, a dancing hot dog won’t save a company, but the Augmented Reality technology behind it is promising. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Instagram Stories to move their AR beyond face filters.

Check out AdAge’s “What Snapchat’s Dancing Hot Dog Means for the Future of AR” piece here.